They want to stay at home. There’s no question, no dilemma and there’s no decision to be made as far as your parents are concerned. You, as their adult child, see things differently. You’re on call, you’re doing the shopping, and you’re calling three times a day on top of the five times a day they call you. Frail and in tenuous health, elderly parents often seem themselves as the independent people they’ve always been. It’s hard on you, because they obviously are not. It would be far easier to sell their home and move to an assisted living facility as far as you’re concerned.
There are options to help keep your parents at home, often referred to as “aging in place”.
Home care isn’t always the answer, and if your mom or dad needs intensive medical care it might not be practical or wise. This might lead to conflict, but just as they firmly insisted on guiding you as a child, so must you be firm when critical decisions must be made.
Think about all your options so you can either help your parents make an informed decision or make one perhaps in consultation with your siblings.
It’s easier to recover at home
Whether an elderly person has been in the hospital over the weekend or for several months, the experience can be traumatizing. After discharge, an older person can be a little weaker and vulnerable and being at home could provide the comfort and solace they need. A familiar environment with attention from a qualified home care attendant can provide support and an opportunity to heal both mind and spirit. It has been reported that the need to return to the hospital is greatly reduced when an older person has been allowed to convalesce at home.
Providing care at home could save money
A long-term care facility, which has been the traditional answer to elder care, can be a pricey option especially if your parents’ home has no mortgage. A private or semi-private room can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year. Paying for home-care staff can be less costly, particularly if the providers don’t have to be there 24-hours a day.
Being at home preserves your parent’s dignity
Some will tell you that their parents fear living in a long-term care facility and becoming dependent more than death. At home, they have more freedom and more control over their lives, or at least, they have the impression that they are still in charge. Their home is their castle and is the least restrictive alternative. Parents stay in the community in which their friends are. Even if their friends are gone or like them, are also becoming more infirm as each day passes, what matters are how they feel and the memories they may have. An older person has more choice in their own home and they can hire and fire their home care person or other medical attendants if they so desire. Plus, they don’t have to live by the rules of an institution. For example, if one or both of your parents smoke, living in an assisted living environment or long-term care environment would likely force them to smoke outdoors. An older person is not likely to give up smoking if their days are numbered anyway, and smoking still gives them pleasure.
Weigh the options
There are many companies that will provide non-nursing home care. For example, if your parent has good days and bad days, and can still get out and about on their good days, they may just need extra help a couple of days a week to fold laundry, put out the garbage, run errands and make a few meals. A more dependent parent may need help getting out of the bed in the morning, bathing, and getting back into bed in the evening so, twice daily visit could suffice. Home care people can stay if you need to go out of town for a few days.
There are many retail stores that can provide assisted devices to make everyday tasks easier for an older person. Motorized chair lifts to climb stairs, elevated toilet sets, walkers and wheelchairs or scooters can either be purchased or rented. These retailers can send representatives to your home to examine the layout and make recommendations on products that will help the older person stay at home as long as possible.